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US HEALTH AND fitness franchise Bally Total Fitness has opened a new franchise facility in Seoul, Korea. The new fitness centre is the company's third franchise in the area and plans for a fourth facility to open this spring are already underway.

The new fitness club will help meet Korea's growing need for health and fitness options and will provide residents with another full service fitness centre to meet their needs. "Franchising is a key initiative for Bally Total Fitness and an important part of our turnaround plan as it allows us to build our brand and increase revenue without investing capital," says Chairman and CEO Paul Toback.

In the last decade, the percentage of overweight South Koreans has jumped from 22 per cent to 36 per cent, increasing the demand for fitness centres like Bally Total Fitness. The South Korean government is focusing heavily on ways to fight this epidemic and is considering taking measures such as placing labels on foods that are deemed unhealthy and cutting fast food commercials from daytime television in order to fight obesity.

"We recognise the need for state-of-the-art, yet affordable fitness centres in Seoul and are excited to offer residents another Bally Total Fitness location," adds Robert Moschorak, Managing Director of Franchise Operations. "We are expanding in the South Korean market at an appropriate time given the government's focus on health and fitness and are committed to helping residents get fit and will continue to look for additional growth opportunities."

The new facility, located in an affluent residential area of Seoul, features a wide variety of cardio and resistance training equipment, as well as a free weight area. The club has a staff of 20 personal trainers who are available to help members set goals and get started on a workout programme. Other club amenities include eight indoor golf lanes as well as a sauna, nail salon, juice bar and sport massage therapy clinic, all within the facility.


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